August Sander

Studien - Der Mensch [Grandmother and Child, c.1910-14] (1910 - 1914)

About this artwork

In the photo-books that August Sander compiled alongside his monumental documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’, he aimed visually to identify and define the social structures of his time. The project’s more than 500 photographs are arranged into distinct series that were intended to reveal the typical traits of certain social classes and ‘types’. This photograph is from a series of hand studies that Sander compiled in 1944 from enlargements of details taken from portraits he had made earlier in the century. It is an enlargement from a picture taken around 1919 of farming people in the rural Westerwald near Cologne, isolating the hands of a grandmother and her grandchild. While the weather-beaten woman’s hand signals the physical strain of years of agricultural labour that is entirely absent from the soft flesh of the child, the photograph also draws attention to the continuing inter-generational solidarity in farming families, a social phenomenon that was beginning to disappear from modern society.

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  • title: Studien - Der Mensch [Grandmother and Child, c.1910-14]
  • accession number: AL00177
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1910 - 1914
  • measurements: 15.90 x 15.60 cm (paper 43.90 x 33.90 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm) (framed: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
  • copyright: © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

August Sander

August Sander

Considered one of the finest photographers of the twentieth century, Sander's bold style of portrait photography, as well as his typological approach, has had an enormous influence on modern photography. During his apprenticeship in several German studios and his time in his own studio in Austria, he developed his individual style. Then in 1910 Sander moved to Cologne and produced his first large group of photographs, which he later included in his concept "People of the 20th Century". This was created in the mid-1920s and compiled up until the 1950s. He photographed groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and positions in society.